Love After Lockup Rachel shares tragic story of her 1st convict boyfriend Curtis Doepel

Rachel from Love After Lockup on Instagram

Love After Lockup viewers are introduced to Rachel as a straight-laced ex-marine with a penchant for bad boys. The fact that convicted felon Doug is Rachel’s third serious inmate relationship combined with her willingness to talk and joke about sex on screen make Rachel the kind of meme-inducing train wreck cast member that Love After Lockup has become famous for. However, Rachel’s off-screen interviews since the show premiered, as well as her posts on social media, reveal that her relationship history is worthy of being told in a much more serious and respectful manner.

In a recent interview with the Escape To Reality podcast (included below), Rachel opened up about her first experience dating a convict — an experience that ended tragically and resulted in her returning to incarcerated men “looking to find something that I couldn’t get back.”

Rachel explains that the man was recently released from prison when he reached out to her via Facebook. “He had lost all contact with his family. He was pretty much alone,” Rachel revealed. “He came out of prison, had to build a life for himself, and he messaged me on Facebook one day. I was, like, ‘Oh my god, this guy looks super scary! Tattoos all over on his face and everything.'”

Rachel decided to not judge him based on his appearance. “He was open. He was honest with me about his past, his history.” So, when he eventually asked Rachel out on a date, she agreed. Self-deprecating Rachel said she was also motivated in part “because not many people want to take Rachel out on dates.”

Love After Lockup Rachel and ex Curtis Doepel

From Rachel:

So we go out on a date. He explains to me about his history. “Yeah, you know I did four years in prison. Nobody ever wrote me, nobody ever visited me.” And it truly, really bothered him. And that was something that…came up all the time throughout our relationship, you know, whenever he was having a moment or a hard time. He was, like, “Well you don’t know what it’s like to be alone. You don’t know what it’s like to have people you love and depended on abandon you. You don’t know what it’s like to live in solitary confinement,” because he did that for, like, I want to say 23 months. It was an excessive amount of time.

Rachel says that he went through a lot while in prison, including being stabbed. (More on that below.) The relationship was anything but perfect, Rachel admitted during the interview. She said that they argued often. “It was me trying to learn how to calibrate within two different dynamics, two different worlds,” she reflected.

As you might have guessed, the couple’s sex life was fantastic. “We had a very, you know, completely different, passionate, hot sex life,” Rachel said. “There was just something about him that was just totally different than any other person [or] relationship that I had ever had.”

From Rachel:

One day we had a really nasty argument and — I knew nothing about addiction at the time. I’ve never done drugs in my life. I know nothing about drugs. I guess as time went on I started to, like, question certain things. Long story short, we had a really bad, nasty argument. I’m like, “You know what? I’m done. I’m not going to tolerate you yelling at me or disrespecting me. So, have a good day. Kick rocks.”

The next day — I mean, we didn’t talk. I didn’t hear anything from him. And then everybody starts messaging me. You know, “Have you talked to so and so?” And I said, “No. We got into a nasty argument and I’m not talking to him. I refuse to be treated that way.”

Time went on, and he was on parole. People were afraid to go looking for him.

Rachel found out he had died of an overdose. “It was awful. To be honest, I don’t think I ever…properly coped with it or dealt with it on every single mental, emotional level that I could think of because it just got — like, the hole got deeper…It was a lot to deal with. So I guess after his passing I was trying to find ways to heal. So I started volunteering at addiction clinics. I started wanting to put, you know, people in rehab or help others.”

Rachel was at the funeral when she bumped into a man she had a crush on in middle school. “We met at the funeral and then, literally like ten days later he got arrested.” Rachel began writing him in prison, but it wasn’t really romantic in the beginning. She was mainly motivated to write him due to what her deceased ex had said about the loneliness of being behind bars.

“I think I was trying,” Rachel said, “in my mind not fully accepting that I was looking to find something that I couldn’t get back.” The relationship would later grow into a romantic one and the man became Rachel’s second serious relationship with a convict.

Rachel’s ex Curtis Doepel

After recording her interview with Escape To Reality, Rachel shared additional information about her first inmate love interest on Instagram. She posted a photo of herself with him and added the following commentary:

This man’s name will live on. I will never ever forget his name or our memories. I would not be where I am today without him .. ♥️🙏 his name needs to be known and forever celebrated. He worked hard on his own til his last day ♥️

Idc about hash tags at this moment …

Prior to his passing, he had his own place , a job , his own money. So believe it or not , inmates can succeed. They are among us. Ppl with a past can change when they are ready . We cannot change people. He did the most with his time outside of the penitentiary ♥️🙏

Rachel revealed in the comments that his name was Curtis Doepel. Searching for Curtis online reveals that he passed away on December 16, 2016 at the age of 32.

Curtis’s brother Ken started a GoFundMe in hopes of raising money to help their parents pay for the funeral expenses. The campaign almost doubled its $1,000 goal by raising $1,890. Below is Ken’s description from the campaign followed by his message thanking those who donated and sent their well wishes:

Curtis Doepel GoFundMe

On December 19th mine and my families lives changed forever. My brother Curtis was taken from us way too soon. Back in early August he was released from serving 4 years in prison and finally had his life on track. During these short 4 months he was able to put a roof over his head, stay healthy, report whenever need be, and just stay positive in general and keep a good head on his shoulders. He made it a hobby to keep himself physically and mentally fit and keep himself busy at all times.

Do to an injury he received last week he had to be admitted to the hospital. For reasons unknown and that will never be known but is my own and others speculation, we believe he may have been prescribed pain pills and in doing so, that sparked and interest in him to get high one time. And that’s all it took.

My brother has struggled with, and had finally overcome his substance abuse problems. But as any addict knows, myself included, it is a life long battle. You can be doing the best you’ve ever been and in an instant, you make one bad call and your gone forever.

No one deserves to be found alone, in a car, in the cold frozen. I understand that is a little graphic but I want you to understand the hardship that my family is going through at what is supposed to be a wonderful time of the year. When your family is supposed to be closest to you. We all had our differences but my family will never get over this. Curtis and I were so close and this is the hardest thing I will ever go through.

Do to the time of the year and this family tragedy that time will never heal, if there is any possible way for anyone at all, to help out in any way they can, my parents would greatly appreciate anything possible. This is a big expense that came out of nowhere at a horrible time of the year when everything was going great. Goes to show you how short life can be.

Thank you all who have reached out and that have prayed for my family. You have no idea how much it means to us. I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Keep your loved ones close. I Love You Curtis!

December 28 Update

Thank you all so much who have helped with donations, those of you who had come out to the service yesterday, and just all of you in general who have reached out in whatever way possible to show love and support. You do not understand how great of a feeling that is when going through such a difficult situation. Everyone’s love and continued support is truly appreciated. You all have contributed in some way, to a wonderful send off to my amazing big brother, Curtis, and continue to do so. Thank you all so much! ❤ We Love You Curtis

Curtis was stabbed while in prison

As Rachel mentioned in her podcast interview, Curtis’s prison experience included being stabbed. The incident occurred on May 28, 2014 at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. Here’s more information from the Ionia Sentinel-Standard:

Curtis Doepel

The inmate, Curtis Doepel, told health care staff around 7:25 p.m. that he had been stabbed by another prisoner or prisoners, according to MDOC spokesperson Russell Marlan. Doepel had three puncture wounds in his back, and was transported by Life EMS to Sparrow Ionia Hospital.

All housing unit yards were shut down, Doepel’s unit was locked down, and the yards were swept in search of a possible weapon, Marlan said. He did not say whether one was found.

Doepel, who is serving sentences for police officer–assault/resist/obstruct and larceny in a building, remains hospitalized.


I am a big fan of Love After Lockup, and of course that means I am a big fan of all the facepalmingly bad decisions and disastrous train wreckage featured each and every season. However, I agree with a lot of what Season 1 star Mary Dalla Nora has stated in regards to producers not being willing to telling more in-depth stories when the opportunity is there.

Mary’s main issue was with producers not willing to focus on the positive when prison relationships work — like hers did. But, I think the complaint also applies when there is a much more serious and respectful story to be told.

As you can tell from reading this post and/or listening to Rachel’s interview with Escape To Reality, her relationship history with inmates — up to and including Doug — is so much more than awkward sex scenes and joking about baloney, boobs, booze and blow j*bs. The knee jerk reaction of some viewers might be that Love After Lockup is what it is, and that is a trashy and entertaining reality show with lots of memorable quotes and embarrassing scenes. It is that, but there is absolutely no reason it can’t aspire to be more when the opportunity is there. And I promise you that the show would be even more enjoyable for fans if more of that ingredient is added to the recipe.

In other words, I feel like I’m getting a completely different story about Rachel off screen than I am seeing on screen, and the off screen story is much more compelling. And don’t worry, both Rachel and I are well aware that even if they treated her story more seriously, we would still be getting TONS of cringeworthy drama from her and Doug this season!

I highly recommend that you all give Rachel a follow on Instagram. I can assure you that no one will laugh harder with you at all the Rachel and Doug shenanigans than her — and she will actually get you laughing more with her reactions! (Her co-star Daonte is similar.)

Here is Rachel’s full interview with Escape from Reality. She talks about Curtis in the first half of the interview. Later she moves on and tackles a TON of topics ranging from Doug’s baloney obsession to her time in the Marines.

To keep up with how Rachel and Doug’s story plays out on screen, be sure to tune in to new episodes of Love After Lockup airing Friday nights at 9/8c on WE tv. For those of you who are a little too impatient to find out what happens with the couples this season, including Rachel and Doug, be sure to check out our Love After Lockup spoiler (and non-spoiler) posts below!

Rachel & Doug spoilers – Are they still together?
Did Rachel and Doug break up? Spoiler update!
Are Daonte and Nicolle still together? Are they married?
Nicolle & previous Love After Lockup star Lacey Whitlow are adult video costars Kaci Kash & Molly

Why was Courtney arrested? What is a double proxy wedding?
HUGE Courtney and Josh spoiler update!

Courtney’s letter asking a judge for Josh’s early release

Are Britney and Ray still together?

Ray Ford arrest details & ‘champions hustle’ mug shot photo

Britney was arrested for assault in 2011

Stan’s girlfriend Lisa’s mug shot photo timeline, plus recent photo
Is Stan Smith really rich?
Are Anissa and Jeff still together?

Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)

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